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Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Featured, International, Media, War | 3 comments

Time to Rethink Middle East Wars

Patrick Chappatte, The International Herald Tribune

Patrick Chappatte, The International Herald Tribune

What are we doing in Syria and why? And why are we still chained to a discredited foreign policy concocted by Dick Cheney and his armchair warriors before George W. Bush took office almost two decades ago?

After 9/11/01 their fringe call in 1997 for a new century of “American global leadership” with “military strength and moral clarity” drove US foreign policy into, among other misadventures, an Iraq war that cost the nation more than 4000 lives and $3 trillion dollars.

While Congress bickers over responsibility for deaths in Benghazi, the same old voices drive the nation toward intervention into the kind of morass in Syria that led to quagmires in Libya, Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

When and where have we found moral clarity through military strength anywhere? Isn’t it past time for new voices and new ideas about what the hell we are doing in that region of the world?

While white-haired Bill Clinton says the President risks looking like a “fool” and a “total wuss” if he doesn’t move into Syria, he is joined by Cheney, McCain and all the ancient GOP war lovers cheerleading for another bloody enterprise.

Unheard in the din are young senators like Connecticut’s Chris Murphy and New Mexico’s Tom Udall who went to Syria and came back deeply skeptical about what we can do there. Their face time on cable news is minimal.

Unheard too are the American people who have long been showing signs of Middle East fatigue.


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  • slamfu

    I’m surprised Iran was represented on that tank. From what I understand they’ve given the lion’s share of support that Assad has needed to stay propped up while facing a popular rebellion.

    And yea, there really is no win there. I can only assume they have decided arming and prolonging this conflict will somehow get some of our enemies who we have been unable to engage, to engage eachother. Its one of the few ways we can drain resources further from Iran, get Hezbollah to overextend, and even get Sunni extremists to fight them. In the end, unless the Syria people get an unexpected second wind of revolutionary fervor, Assad will come out on top as I don’t see us supporting the hodgepodge of actual Syria freedom fighters and now large numbers of AQ linked Sunni extremists with the same level of support that Russia and Iran will provide. That poor country and its poor people are going to be living a nightmare for forseeable future. Unless Russia and China reverse their UN Security council votes and agree to an international mission to stop the violence, which I don’t see happening anytime soon.

  • petew

    “While white-haired Bill Clinton says the President risks looking like a “fool” and a “total wuss” if he doesn’t move into Syria, he is joined by Cheney, McCain and all the ancient GOP war lovers cheerleading for another bloody enterprise.”

    Clinton is undoubtedly right about how Obama will be judged if he chooses non-action, but still, isn’t it kind of disconcerting to think that we might lose many more men in a middle eastern war, just to salvage the reputation of, and opinion we have, about our President?

    It seems to me that there are a great number of unknowns that likely, will not turn out to be favorable to us—especially if we become heavily involved—as well as plenty of unknowns about how the winners will be politically oriented! We could just be enabling a greater number of terrorists who are dedicated to being against any, and all, of our National interests.

    I hope Obama is the type of President who doesn’t want to risk thousands of American lives, just on a whim, and, just to save his personal reputation—rather vain isn’t it—When our leaders don’t really think about the welfare of our very human soldiers with their boots on the ground?

  • DaGoat

    Mr. Stein is spot on here. The negatives of getting involved in this civil war greatly outweigh the positives. In a decision whether to align itself with Hezbollah’s side or Al Qaeda’s, the US chose Al Qaeda. It’s very unlikely we’ll be happy with whatever regime ends up “winning” here.

    The small arms are a token and Assad will not be beaten with them, so at some point Obama will have to decide whether to increase the US involvement or end up looking like a wuss anyway. This is a no-win conflict and the US should stay out.

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